Panthers entertain Mendenhall

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2006

Two teams coming off heart-wrenching defeats look forrestitution Friday night on King Field when the Brookhaven Panthershost the Mendenhall Tigers in a Region 6-4A showdown. Kickoff is 7p.m.

The Panthers (2-2, 0-1) lost their region opener at McComb,falling 31-28 on a last-second, 29-yard field goal. Mendenhall(2-2, 0-1) lost 21-20 to Terry in overtime, missing the tying extrapoint.

Mendenhall, coached by Chris Peterson, was runner-up to Terry inlast year’s region race. Peterson, in his fourth season at thehelm, returned 13 starters from last year’s 9-4 squad. Peterson,34, is a Mississippi State University graduate.

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The Tigers are led by senior quarterback James Walker (6-0, 175)and senior tailback Bertrail Easterling (5-10, 170). They beatQuitman 24-13 in their season opener and knocked off Forest 46-33the second week before losing 28-22 at Collins.

Asked to describe Mendenhall, Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peaveysaid, “They are an explosive, fast football team. Their skillplayers are very similar to McComb.”

On offense, the Tigers spread it out and throw it. “They use alot of shotgun, similar to us,” said Peavey. “They probably throwit a little more than we do. Their quarterback (Walker) is a goodathlete. He has a big arm.”

Willie Hobbs (6-2, 185, sr.) is Walker’s primary widereceiver.

Easterling is not the only horse in Mendenhall’s offensivestable. According to Peavey, “Their running backs are fast, quickand athletic. They’re 5-11 to 6-2; good-looking players.”

On defense, the Tigers rely on speed and pursuit. “No. 55(Jasper Stowers) at defensive tackle shows up a lot in the film,”said Peavey. “They have a defensive end, No. 17 (William Redden),who plays hard and makes a lot of plays.”

Mendenhall lost to Terry in overtime when the place-kicker hitthe ball low and Terry escaped with the win.

“We want to try and win the rest of our region games,” saidPeavey. “We have to win them one at time.”

Players of the Week for Brookhaven were wide receiver JakeWilliams on offense, and linebacker Greg Walker on defense.

Against McComb, Panther quarterback Charles (Bobo) Rancifercompleted 8 of 18 passes for 139 yards and 1 touchdown. He rushedfor 19 yards.

Wide receiver Simmie Yarborough caught 4 passes for 107 yards,including a 77-yard TD; as the Panthers roared to 14-0,first-quarter lead.

Running back Charles Wilson spearheaded the Ole Brook offensewith 20 carries for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns.

On defense, Walker led Ole Brook with 8 tackles. Tackle VirgilSanders had 7 stops. End Larry Winters had 5 tackles and 1quarterback sack. Linebacker Bart Sias had 6 tackles.

Panther Paws: Last year Mendenhall beat OleBrook 31-14 as Bertrail Easterling rushed for 134 yards and 2touchdowns, avenging a 42-0 state playoff loss in 2004. Ranciferrushed for both Ole Brook TDs.